Sermon Notes & References

Discipling Priorities (2)

Titus 2:6-10, 15

October 14, 2018

A. A Résumé

    1. This letter

    2. Titus’ Discipling Priorities 1

B. Young Men (v. 6)

    1. A Short Subject Lesson

    2. The Lesson Explained 2

C. Teaching the Teacher (vv. 7-8)

    1. Being an Example 3

    2. Silencing the Opposition

D. Teaching Bond-Slaves (vv. 9-10)

    1. Ancient Slavery

    2. Applying This Now

E. Stick to Your Guns! (v. 15)

    1. Persevere!


1  Titus 2:6-10, 15. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Discipling Priorities (2)

 

A. A Résumé

 

    1. This Letter

        a. it has now been several weeks since we looked at Paul’s letter to Titus

        b. this letter gave some priority items for Titus, Paul’s representative, with which to deal in the church on Crete

        c. first came the appointment of elders (or overseers, “bishops”) for the local church bodies dotting the island

        d. then a character outline of the people of Crete to assist these leaders in teaching those in their assembly how to live truly as believers

        e. also a warning against false teaching such as Judaism

        f.  then in chapter 2, Paul goes on to give Titus a more personal task

 

    2. Titus’ Discipling Priorities

        a. that word ‘discipling’ probably doesn’t really exist

            (A)    but I am using it as a shortened way of saying ‘making disciples’

                 (1)    it is teaching Christian faith & practice to disciples, to believers

                 (2)    it is the carrying out of the mandate as given in 2 Timothy 2:1-2, “1 You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”

            (B)    so then, it is the training emphasis in the church

        b. In the first six verses of this chapter, Paul has given to Titus

            (A)    some explicit subjects to be taught in his school

                 (1)    matters of character: temperate, reverent, sensible (sober)

                 (2)    matters of attitude: love, perseverance

                 (3)    matters of behaviour: not gossipping, not wine-bibbers

            (B)    and his disciples are assigned to different ‘subject class-rooms’

                 (1)    the young, the old; the men, the women

                 (2)    and, as we see in today’s passage, subjects for the slaves, and for the teacher himself

        c. let us continue where we left off, with young men, and perhaps repeat some of what was said previously

 

B. Young Men (v. 6)

 

Likewise urge the young men to be sensible

 

    1. A Short Subject Lesson

        a. why so short?

            (A)    maybe because young men have a shorter attention span!

            (B)    or that it takes longer for men, than for women, to mature to the point of heeding advice from others

            (C)   yet the word “likewise” means young men should pay attention to the instruction given previously in the chapter

        b. there are, however, more pertinent reasons for this brevity

 

    2. The Lesson Explained

        a. the first reason it is short is that word ‘sensible, or sober’ itself

            (A)    it has been used a number of times:

                 (1)    for both old & young, for both men & women

                 (2)    in Greek it is a combination of two words, the first meaning ‘safe, sound’ and the second the ‘mind’

                 (3)    it is to have a mind that is alive and well, sound and whole

            (B)    if one has such a mind, then one is well-armed against the lust of the eyes, of the flesh, the pride of life, the deceits of this world

                 (1)    whence comes such a mind?

                 (2)    salvation should & will transform the Christian’s thinking

                 (3)    this saving of the mind is, first of all, the Holy Spirit’s work

                 (4)    His washing away the ideas, culture, values of this world

 

                 (5)    to have it is to be able to say with 1 Corinthians 2:16, “but we have the mind of Christ”

            (C)   but, like other aspects of sanctification, we are urged to seek it

                 (1)    as we read earlier in our service, “let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5)

                 (2)    and as encouraged in Romans 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

            (D)   so this simple word – sensible, sober – covers a lot of territory!

        b. the second reason for brevity is that Titus’ teaching of the young men does not stop here: the following two verses concern study subjects for the teacher, which are in turn to be passed on to the students

 

C. Teaching the Teacher (vv. 7-8)

 

7 in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, 8 sound in speech which is beyond reproach, in order that the opponent may be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.

 

    1. Being an Example

        a. this is for teachers, pastors, Bible class leaders; right?

            (A)    so, you may be thinking, ‘I’ll tune out for a while until something comes up that is interesting or applies to me ... if it does!’

            (B)    well, let me make an application of these verses right away

            (C)   many of you are actively in the process of teaching your children

                 (1)    for some this is obvious as they are still young

                 (2)    but even after your children grow up, they are still your children and the process goes on

            (D)   and for us all, our example will be teaching others what it means to be a Christian – so to do it well, these words apply

        b. Paul gives Titus four areas to work on in his life to be a good example

        c. one: good deeds

            (A)    the word ‘good’ here is not that of ‘good versus evil’

                 (1)    it does not describe the character of the work

                 (2)    nor does it give, as it were, the work’s moral quality

            (B)    ‘good’ rather has the sense of fine or beautiful in its nature

                 (1)    applying to the doing, how the work is done or carried out

                 (2)    that is is done, for example, without show or selfish motive

        d. two: pure or uncorrupted teaching

            (A)    though a number of translations use the word ‘doctrine’, that may mislead: here the focus is on the manner, not the matter

            (B)    it is not speaking of the matters found in our statement of faith

            (C)   or the dogma to which we as Christians adhere and follow

            (D)   but rather on the way that the teacher conveys the subject, living forth the matters taught by his attitude, actions, motives

            (E)    because of the teacher’s integrity it becomes impossible for his teachings to be twisted and corrupted by others

            (F)    of course, if you are a parent teaching your children, it is to be hoped that the wrong attitude, actions & motives never creep in

        e. three: either teaching or living (or both) in a dignified fashion

            (A)    it is not certain whether the word translated ‘gravity, dignity or reverence’ is to be applied to the teacher or the teaching

            (B)    but the gospel, the word of God, is a terribly serious subject

            (C)   it is not to be treated with frivolity or levity (although its outcome is filled with joy, mirth, and even laughter (Psalm 126:2)) or, in Isaiah’s (51:11) words, “So the ransomed of the Lord will return, And come with joyful shouting to Zion; And everlasting joy will be on their heads. They will obtain gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away.”

            (D)   the way the evangelist conducts himself, and delivers the evangel, should be worthy of respect, so that the subject is given due respect

        f.  four: sound (health-giving) speech (discourse)

            (A)    while this could be applied to the teacher in his time of teaching, there is no reason for such a restriction to be placed upon it

            (B)    our daily speaking should be that which carries with it the flavour of health & life – ‘our speech seasoned with salt’

            (C)   so parents are instructed in Deuteronomy 6:6-7, “6 And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; 7 and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.”

 

    2. Silencing the Opposition

        a. even if our neighbours should be blind to the gospel, yet our witness to it should be such as to be free from reproach

        b. when the teacher teaches in this fashion and lives in this manner, ‘the opponent may be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.’

        c. Titus was to live and teach in this way in Crete; the disciples taught were to listen and to observe and live in the same way

        d. and these are the conditions for our Christianity to have an impact in this day: in our church, our home, our workplace, our neighbourhood

 

D. Teaching Bond-Slaves (vv. 9-10)

 

9 Urge bond-slaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, 10 not pilfering, but showing all good faith that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in every respect.

 

    1. Ancient Slavery

        a. varied much in the condition and station of slaves

            (A)    frequently slaves were those prisoners taken in war

                 (1)    often their situation was as severe and reprehensible as those who were taken from Africa to be enslaved in the new world

                 (2)    with their treatment differing little from that given to cattle and other animal possessions

            (B)    yet some could be more highly trained than their owner

                 (1)    such were the pedagogues (school masters) used to raise the children in the family

                 (2)    or, stewards, whose hand controlled the master’s possessions

                 (3)    some, apart from being bonded to their masters, would lead a fairly normal life with their own family & possessions

        b. the OT Law made greater provision for their protection than was given to some workers, such as miners, a few centuries ago

            (A)    but by & large, in Roman empire a slave was merely property

            (B)    his master – despot, in Greek – could deal with him as he liked

            (C)   the number of slaves in the Roman Empire in NT times has been variously estimated as between one & two thirds of the population

        c. it is small wonder that in the face of such a situation

            (A)    there were both open and hidden revolt by slaves

                 (1)    the most famous being the Third Servile War led by Spartacus; 6,000 of the survivors were crucified along the Appian Way

                 (2)    hidden revolts took place by stealing from their masters by various stratagems, or other forms of disservice to harm them

            (B)    also, many Christians arose from the slave class

                 (1)    the NT does not tell slaves to revolt, nor masters to free them

                 (2)    but, as here, rather to live in such a way as befits a person who is a bond-slave to the heavenly Master, the Lord Jesus Christ

                 (3)    and the letter of Paul to Philemon concerning his runaway slave, Onesimus, revealed a spirit that would eventually erode the whole foundation of a slave-supported society

 

    2. Applying This Now

        a. there is a strong parallel between slavery and employment today

            (A)    those remembering the depression years can see this

                 (1)    my father, for example, graduating from Danforth Tech in the early 1930's worked as an apprentice for four years while he learned to be a tool & die maker – without any compensation

                 (2)    James Herriot, the famous vet in Yorkshire, recalls how many who completed their training at the same time as he, had to go out and work for their ‘keep’, i.e., their room and board

            (B)    but also many people, especially in lower paid & less esteemed jobs feel themselves to be slaves to the system – with little alternatives to what they are doing, and little to which to look forward

                 (1)    like the slaves, the temptation to such is to even things up by making their employer’s possessions their own

                 (2)    or cheating them at the time clock

                 (3)    or fomenting arguments with their superior; and so on

        b. Paul is saying to Titus (& to the Ephesians, the Colossians, &c)

            (A)    that a good Christian testimony (for us as employees)

                 (1)    of being well-pleasing (the British phrase, ‘giving satisfaction’)

                 (2)    is every bit as important to the cause of Christ, as that which may proceed from the highest pulpit in the land

            (B)    that more important than a mitre on the head, or plush ermine-lined gowns, or splendid badges of ecclesiastical office

                 (1)    is our lives present God our Saviour to this hungry world.

                 (2)    let it be such as to ornament the gospel teaching,

 

E. Stick to Your Guns! (v. 15)

 

These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

 

    1. Persevere!

        a. stick to your guns is ‘to continue to have your beliefs or continue with a plan of action, even if other people disagree with you ... to refuse to change your beliefs or actions’ 2 – having determined that something is worth defending, to defend it at all costs against all opposition.

        b. the encouragement to Titus – and to each of us – to continue to teach, and to live, in such a way that what we believe – our faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ – cannot be disregarded by those who know us, but rather be highly esteemed

        c. or to repeat, that our attitude, words and lives adorn the gospel and exalt the Name of Jesus Christ of whom we have been singing today.


Footnotes

Endnotes

1

© 2018 by Garth Hutchinson, Faith Fellowship Baptist Church of Aurora (Ontario): may be distributed or quoted freely, only let this be done to the glory “of the great God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ” (Titus ii.13). Except as noted otherwise, quotations are from the New American Standard version, used by permission. Various other English versions of the Holy Bible may be used in this sermon. Explanatory additions to the Bible text are shown in [braces]. Version identifiers are:

 

              AV          Authorized (King James) Version of 1769

              NAS        New American Standard version © 1960, 1995 The Lockman Foundation (usually the 1995 edition)

              NIV         New International Version © 1984 by the International Bible Society

              NKJV              New King James Version © 1979 Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers

              NRSV             New Revised Standard Version © 1989 Division of Christian Education of national Council of Churches of Christ

              JBP         The New Testament in Modern English, J. B. Phillips, Geoffrey Bles Ltd

              UBS        Greek text of the United Bible Societies; particularly that published in 1954 by The British and Foreign Bible Society

              WEY               The New Testament in Modern Speech © 1902, 1912 R. F. Weymouth


Some of the commentaries and resources used in the preparation of this message are identified as follow:


              Barnes –  Notes on the New Testament by Alfred E. Barnes

              Calvin –   Commentaries on the Bible, by Jean Calvin; translated into English & published in the Online Bible.

              Gill       Exposition of the Old Testament, Exposition of the New Testament, by John Gill, D.D.

              JFB  -      Commentary on the Old and New Testaments, Jamieson, Fausset & Brown; S. S. Scranton & Co. 1872

              Kerux –   The sermon & illustration data base compiled by Rev. David Holwick at the web-site, www.holwick.com.

              RWP             Robertson’s Word Pictures of the New Testament, by Dr. A. T. Robertson

2

Cambridge English Dictionary – online dictionary.cambridge.org